Google Cloud Print and wired printers

By | Blog | No Comments

It’s possible to attach a wired printer to Google Cloud Print. Why would you want to do this, considering a PC or laptop can send print jobs directly to the printer, without Google Cloud Print?

The answer: Other laptops, PCs, and mobile devices on the same network will be able to wirelessly print Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files. It’s a cool feature, albeit one that requires extra setup steps to make it work.

Here are the instructions for enabling a wired printer to be used with Google Cloud Print services:

  1. Make sure the wired printer is turned on and connected to the PC or laptop you are using with a USB cable.
  2. Launch Google Chrome, and click the More actions icon (three dots in the upper right corner of the browser window).
  3. Click Settings, then Advanced.
  4. Scroll down to Google Cloud Print and select it.
  5. Select Manage Cloud Print Devices.
  6. Under Classic Printers, click Add Printers.
  7. Select from available devices.

Once Google Cloud Print is enabled for a wired printer attached to a PC or a laptop, the printer will not need to be configured for other computers and devices connected to the same wireless network.

How to delete Google Drive (desktop application or mobile app)

By | Blog | No Comments

People typically delete Google Drive applications for one of the following reasons:

  • They aren’t using it (or prefer to use Google Drive in a browser)
  • There are issues with syncing files, especially if large files or folders are regularly updated.
  • The computer is about to be sold or transferred to a new owner or user.

Steps to uninstall Google Drive are covered below. Note that files may still be left on your computer or device even after Drive has been removed. To disconnect the new Google Drive Backup & Sync application, follow these steps.

Removing the Google Drive application from a desktop or laptop

If you want to remove the Google Drive application from your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Google Drive icon in the System Tray (Windows) or Menu Bar (OS X) and select Preferences.
  2. Select Account.
  3. Press Disconnect Account

Then follow these steps:

PC

  1. Press Start > Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs > Programs and Features.
  3. Select Google Drive

Mac

  1. If the Google Drive icon is still visible in the Menu Bar, click it and select Quit.
  2. Open the Applications folder and drag the Google Drive application to the trash.
  3. Removing the Google Drive application will not remove files or folders. Those will have to be deleted separately.

Removing the Google Drive app from mobile devices

To delete the Google Drive app from a phone or tablet, follow these steps:

Android

  1. Open Google Play or the Play Store app.
  2. Press the Menu icon (three horizontal bars) and select My Apps.
  3. Under Installed, select Google Drive.
  4. Press Uninstall

iOS

  1. Hold down the Google Drive app icon until it begins to wiggle.
  2. Press the “x” to delete it.

Files that have been downloaded to the device from Google Drive will not be automatically deleted from the device. In addition, uninstalling Google Drive will not impact the operation of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps.

How to create links to Google Docs files

By | Blog, Video | No Comments

If you do a lot of work in Google Docs, there are times when you may want to create links to Google Docs files so other people can view or edit them. Sharing public links in Google Docs is easy to do, but the menu is buried and some of the options can be a little confusing. In addition, sometimes you may want to add restrictions to limit who can view the Google Docs file or who is allowed to edit the file. These are important considerations if you are collaborating using Google Drive or Google Docs.

The following 3-minute video explains how link sharing works for Google Docs. It covers both public links (viewable by anyone) as well as private links (limited to people you contact or people in your company):

How to embed Google Forms on WordPress or other sites

By | Video | No Comments

In recent months, I have talked about how to create a Google Form and how to change the design. If you use Google Forms to make surveys, scheduling forms, or other online data-entry pages, you may prefer to simply email the Google Forms URL to users or post it on social media. However, there is another way to use Google Forms, that lets you embed Google Forms on WordPress or another type of website. It can be used for all kinds of websites, including corporate websites and WordPress blogs.

There are several advantages of embedding a Google Form on your own website:

  1. The web browser will show your web domain (e.g., in30minutes.com) instead of the Google Forms URL.
  2. You can leverage the branding you may have on the website, such as logos or links to other resources.
  3. Other people may be more likely to use the form if it comes from a trusted source, such as your business URL or an official brand URL.

In order to embed the form on a website, the website will need to allow HTML to be added to a specific page, and you (or someone who has access to the content management system of the website) has the ability to add a line of computer code. This is important, because not all websites allow such access, or you may not know how to do this. However, if you manage your own website or blog, and you are comfortable with copying and pasting, it’s not hard to place Google Forms on WordPress or another type of website.. The following short video shows how, using a WordPress business website as an example.

How to prevent messages from going to the Gmail spam folder

By | Video | No Comments

If you are one of the hundreds of millions of people who use Gmail every day, you may be wondering how to stop messages from certain people or organizations being flagged as spam and placed in the Gmail spam folder. It happens to me all of the time, sometimes with important messages from friends or colleagues or business partners. Even if you use Gmail’s “not spam” button, sometimes the messages are still flagged as spam (false positives) and end up in the Gmail spam folder. After a certain period of time, the messages are automatically deleted — sometimes without you ever knowing they were there!

The video below shows how to stop gmail from flagging spam for email addresses that you choose. In other words, these messages won’t end up in the Gmail spam folder. The video is short, just a few minutes long, and the technique works with the standard consumer version of Gmail as well as the G Suite/Google Apps flavor of Gmail.

Google Forms new interface and tutorial

How to make a form using the new Google Forms

By | Video | No Comments

I always thought that Google Forms was one of the great, hidden features of the Google Drive/Google Docs suite. Not only did it let users quickly create an online survey form that could be sent to people or inserted into a webpage, the responses were automatically fed back into Google Sheets for sorting and other actions. I wasn’t the only one who was impressed; soon enough I began to see all kinds of other uses of Google Forms, from small businesses setting up appointments to online surveys for startups researching market trends.

Now there is a new Google Forms interface. It is superior to the old interface, looks better, and allows for quicker form creation and data review. As before, Google Forms is free, and in that sense provides a great alternative to Survey Monkey, which locks up some features behind a paywall. While Microsoft’s free online spreadsheet program Excel Online offers a new form creation tool, the interface is positively primitive compared to Google Forms.
Google Forms interface and tutorial

In the short video below I won’t get into all of the details of the new Google Forms interface, but it shows how to set up a basic form. I have also created another video that shows how to change the design of Google Forms.

Google Docs notifications when a file is opened?

By | Blog | No Comments

A reader of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes wrote to me with an interesting question involving Google Docs notifications:

I live by myself and my closest relatives live far away.  Should something happen to me, I’d like a way for them to have quick access to some critical information about me: who to contact, financials, and certain passwords.  They should never look at these except under dire circumstances.  In an ideal world, I would be notified if anyone other than me entered the folder.  Next best would be if anyone opened any of the documents.  In this way, if an account of mine were compromised, I could eliminate the info on my Google Drive as the source of the problem.
So the question is whether for the purpose of alerts, merely opening the files triggers an “edit” notification or does it require someone actually saving the document?  Alternative solutions?
It’s a common situation to want to leave instructions and other documents for someone else to open in case of death, injury, or disability. However, regarding the idea to get notified whenever a Google Docs or Google Drive collaborator accesses a folder — this feature does not exist in Google Docs, despite many people requesting it. I understand there is a Google Docs extension called “ezNotifications” (described here) that allows notifications that are associated with edits to the document, but I have not tried it and therefore cannot recommend it.
As for alternatives, Google Sheets does have a notification feature that will alert an account owner whenever a collaborator makes a change, but it does not alert owners when the spreadsheet is opened. I suppose sensitive information could be added to the spreadsheet as text, and edit alerts would be sent to the owner, but there would be no indication to the creator of whether or not it was merely opened by a designated collaborator.
Dropbox also has a feature that alerts owners when any document is changed or updated, but it does not alert for merely opening a document. (I have written a book about Dropbox called Dropbox In 30 Minutes that explains how Dropbox collaboration works).
Finally, planning for personal disaster is a complex topic. Before attempting to distribute documents in case of death or injury, I advise consulting with an estate-planning lawyer who has experience in this area.

How to change the design in Google Forms

By | Blog, Video | No Comments

Last year, I wrote a post about how to create a form using the new Google Forms interface. In today’s episode, we’re going to look at how to change the design in Google Forms, Google’s free alternative to Surveymonkey that integrates with Google Sheets and Google Drive.

If you use Google Forms to to gather information from customers or survey a group of people, you can really improve the look of the form by changing its design. There are all kinds of reasons for changing the design:

  1. The default Google Forms design looks too plain.
  2. You want to apply your own design sensibilities to the form
  3. You have branding elements such as logos or special photos you want to incorporate into the design.
  4. You want the form to better match the fonts, colors, and other elements of your product or website.
  5. You think your audience will respond more enthusiastically to a different design.

This last point is not just being considerate of your audience’s aesthetic sensibilities. If different design elements convince more people to start the form and finish it, that means you will get more (and perhaps better) data.

Change the design in Google Forms: Step by step

Changing the design in Google Forms is not hard to do. This quick video will show you how to add photos, change background colors, and alter other design elements of Google Forms:

How to use the Google Docs mobile app to edit MS Word .docx files

By | Blog, Video | No Comments

The Google Docs mobile app for Android and iOS now has the ability to edit Microsoft Word .docx files on the go! The following three-minute video shows how it works, using an actual .docx file stored in a Google Drive account and accessed through the Google Docs mobile app for iOS. Note that editing and formatting tools are limited, but at least it gives users a quick way to access and edit Microsoft Word documents when there is no easy access to a desktop computer or laptop.

To see how to edit a .docx file in Google Docs on a PC, Mac, or Chromebook, see our recent posts on this topic.